Bloomberg, By Michael Heath
April 23 (Bloomberg) — Turkey and Armenia agreed on a “road map” to normalize relations, the Foreign Ministry in Ankara said after reconciliation talks between the neighbors who share a bloody history and whose border is shut.
The negotiations, mediated by Switzerland, “have achieved tangible progress and mutual understanding,” the ministry said in a statement late yesterday. The announcement came as Armenia marks the anniversary of the alleged genocide in 1915 of 1.5 million of its people by Turks in ceremonies tomorrow.
Efforts at reconciliation between the two nations have gathered momentum since President Abdullah Gul traveled to Armenia’s capital, Yerevan, in September, the first visit to the country by a Turkish head of state.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said yesterday she was “very encouraged by the bold steps” being taken by Turkey and Armenia to reconcile with each other and with their “painful past.”
Steps toward “normalizing relations and opening their borders will foster a better environment for confronting that shared, tragic history,” Clinton said in comments to the House Foreign Affairs Committee in Washington.
The government in Yerevan has accused Turkey of genocide against Armenians in the latter years of the Ottoman Empire, which preceded modern Turkey. The Turkish government says massacres took place in the context of clashes that related to Armenian groups supporting Russia against Turkey during World War I.
Turkish officials insist the killings weren’t orchestrated by the Ottoman government and Gul has proposed opening Ottoman archives to international scholars to try to resolve the dispute.
The French parliament supported the Armenian view that the killings amounted to genocide. The lower house of parliament approved a resolution in 2006 making it a crime to deny that genocide was carried out against Armenians living in what is now Turkey in 1915.
The U.S. says declaring the killings as genocide would hurt relations with an important ally.
Ties have been further strained by a conflict between Armenia and Turkey’s ally, Azerbaijan. While Turkey recognized Armenia’s independence in December 1991 as the Soviet Union collapsed, it shut the frontier in 1993 to protest the government in Yerevan’s support for ethnic Armenians in the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave in their fight for independence from Azerbaijan. A cease-fire has held since 1994.
The Foreign Ministry said Turkey and Armenia “have agreed on a comprehensive framework for the normalization of their bilateral relations in a mutually satisfactory manner,” according to the statement on its Web site. “In this context, a road map has been identified.”
Most Armenians oppose their government’s efforts to improve relations with Turkey, the Istanbul-based Hurriyet newspaper reported a week ago, citing a survey by the Ararat Stratejik Merkezi ( ARARAT Center for Strategic Research) research center.
Sixty-one percent of respondents to the poll said they were against closer ties with Turkey, Hurriyet said. Only 11 percent said they support the government’s current policy, the newspaper reported, without giving further details of the study.
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Կայքի մոդերատորներն իրավունք ունեն հեռացնելու այն գրառումները, որոնք պարունակում են անձնական վիրավորանքներ, բռնության կոչեր, թեմայից դուրս գրառումներ, գովազդային նյութեր։ Նաև չի խրախուսվում շատախոսությունը (flood):
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